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Review: Marlow Entertainers with Jack and The Beanstalk
There’s still time for panto (oh yes there is).Marlow may be a small community but the Marlow Entertainers have achieved amazing feats over the past 40 years. Young and old, talented or simply zealous, this week they are once again showing what a little enthusiasm and hard work can produce.
Jack and the Beanstalk is even written in-house by local police inspector Ray Wilks, who manages to give the well-worn tale a fresh angle, local jokes, and good family entertainment.
Star of this show must be the dame, Adam Carvell. He is winsome and funny, and perfectly at home on the stage, following in the steps of his dad Bernard who plays Daft the policeman and is also panto director.
A pair of 14-year-old twins, Phoebe and Issy Mansell, are two to watch in future. They play the good and bad fairies with enormous confidence and skill. Here again panto playing is a family affair, with their mum Hayley creating endless boos for her portrayal of the mean Truly Bumptious.
Accolades need to go to the invisible pair who play Daisy the Cow, Charlotte Dunn and Freya Bull. Rarely has so much personality gone into a panto cow, and Daisy’s tap-dancing and impersonation of a camel are a hoot.
Ray the writer also plays the fearful Giant who stands 8ft tall (the secret, I’m told, is hidden ski boots attached to 2ft blocks of wood), alongside his disloyal wife played by his real wife Liz.
Youngsters have always been encouraged in the Marlow panto – some have gone on to the West End - and young teenagers Elena Jenson as Jack and Jenna Elliott as Jill are excellent. Phil Shelley and Ben Thomas are good in their backing roles, while Caroline Ingram chills as the bad baroness.. A group of dancers from Marlow School of Dance play their parts well.
The most challenging part of the show is the solo singing pieces. Perhaps that would work better with the chorus joining in, or with a backing track. But altogether this is a thoroughly enjoyable family show – and there’s still time to enjoy it.
Jack and the Beanstalk continues at the Shelley Theatre, Marlow, tonight at 7.30pm and Sunday at 2.30pm. www.marlowentertainersofficial.co.uk